In her article ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’, written in 1973 and published in Screen in 1975, Laura Mulvey argued that the controlling gaze in cinema is always male. Spectators are encouraged to identify with the look of the male hero and make the heroine a passive object of erotic spectacle. Mulvey’s concept of the ‘male gaze’ subsequently became the main talking point of feminist film debate. This chapter begins with Mulvey’s background in the Woman’s Movement and charts her intellectual trajectory from politics to aesthetics. It then goes on to detail her arguments about the male gaze and how film is structured according to male fantasies of voyeurism and fetishism. The chapter will focus on ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’ but it will also draw on Mulvey’s other essays from Visual and Other Pleasures (1989) and Fetishism and Curiosity (1996). Finally, it will consider Mulvey’s ‘Afterthoughts’ on her arguments about visual pleasure in the light of the critical response to her work, which highlighted issues of female spectatorship.